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So America's Golden Age is over? Nonsense. It's still bright lights, big cities and dreams

POLITICIANS have a lot to answer for. Sometimes we'd be better off putting them all in a creche and ignoring them while they get on with whatever petty squabbles they insist on acting out.

American politicians are no better than our own, spending the last few weeks playing an elaborate game of Deal Or No Deal. And instead of Noel Edmonds presiding, they had the full glare of the world's media.

While we're talking millions and billions, they're talking trillions. Nobody has any idea what that kind of money looks like -- and who cares? For the average citizen, it might as well be widgets.


But because it's the world's biggest economy we all get the jitters, hence the doom and gloom and claims the American dream has turned into a nightmare.

Tosh and nonsense.

America is still, and will remain, the most wonderful, hopeful, aspirational and confident nation on earth. It's a country which has made many an Irish entrepreneur and changed Irish lives and families forever. It has shaped our students, opened the minds of tourists and broadened the opportunities of business people for centuries.

I remember the first time I landed on American soil, as does everyone. Crossing the Brooklyn bridge into Manhattan, you're faced not just with a sense of wonder and awe, but a strong feeling of deja vu.

You've been here before, and yet your passport tells you it's your first time.

Such is the iconic status of the skyscraper skyline, the yellow cab, the East river that you're home from home even if your only previous visits were on celluloid.

There's a saying that there's at least 50 examples of everything in America, and traversing the vastness of the Midwest, the snow-capped mountains of the north or the desert plains to the west coast at 30,000 feet you can only be astonished by the limitless variety of this magical country.

Is it any wonder that 63pc of Americans don't even have a passport. Well, why the hell would they need one?

As someone who regularly gives financial advice to teenagers, they tell me all the time of the two things they dream of when they leave school: buying a car and working in the States.

As rites of passage go, they're pretty standard fare.

So how sad it is to think that our kids might be watching the recent in-fighting and moaning from politicians about debt ceilings and Tea Parties and filibustering on Capitol Hill and taking it seriously.

How tragic that they may now decide not to explore this outstanding land of opportunity because they believe all the spats and squabbles about the state of the economy.

What a pity if they don't realise that this is just politics, not real life.

Real life is what ordinary Americans do.

They work hard and play hard. They know how to live like no other nation.

For young Irish people having second thoughts about going over -- my advice is to not even have a first one. Just go.


Experience. Embrace. Be. Live. Immerse yourself -- have a ball.

This is no 'humbling' of America you've been seeing on the news. This is politics, that is all. Real life has nothing to do with it.

One of our American VBFs, Bill Clinton famously said: "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America".

Americans were doing "Yes, we can" while Obama was still in diapers. They will be doing it long after his shift is over.

Their political leaders can only seem to speak in a win-lose way but the local baker, the store owner, the cop or the taxi driver totally gets his or her role and responsibility in this land of the free, home of the brave.

There will be some bravery required now for sure, on all sides, but for all that, the rest of the world will still look on with the same measure of wonder and envy as they ever did.